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  1. Starting at around 1:22 –

    And it seems to me that putting some time into encouraging those we know who are super rich to invest in perhaps even establishing a new satellite TV channel is not an expensive thing, and then get a few Joe Novas and Andrew Bolts to go on and do the commentating every day – and keep the news straight and fair and balanced, as they do on Fox.

    That would break through and give to Australia as it has for America a proper dose of free market thinking.

    (Emphasis added.) IIRC Fox News isn’t regarded as “straight and fair and balanced” by some. But the plan to give Australia (or any nation) “a proper dose of free market thinking” certainly reveals how some people in the board rooms think about the world. Take your medicine, Australia!

    (There are some minor errors in the transcription of Lord Monckton’s remarks – be sure to listen as well as read.) Thanks for posting this video, Rod!

  2. Rod,
    Labelling Christopher Monckton with the perjorative ‘climate change denier’ is unfortunate, doubtless he would castigate you for referring to him in that manner. To assure balance I feel it right to say that central to his endeavours is effort to expose the shaky evidence and uncertain understanding that is available to us when it comes to the whole issue of the globe’s climate. His conclusion being that what is going on does not support the notion of catastrophic change. The motivation for this work of course stems from the need to counter the prevalent, consistently alarmist and politicised opinion making that has been used to influence international policy. He of course realises the world has warmed over the past century or so, but whether this effect is natural or influenced by human activity is a matter for greater investigation, not assertions of certainty where none can be drawn. What is also abundantly clear from his statements is the benefits of this warming, mankind is doing better today than he would if it were colder.
    Regards Barry

    1. Labeling Christopher Monckton as a ‘climate change denier’ is the mildest, most civil way to describe him.

      Others, such as David Beamish, Clerk of the Parliaments of the United Kingdom, ACTING IN OFFICIAL CAPACITY, have assigned far more derogatory and unpleasant characterizations to that person, going all the way but the words themselves to call him a prevaricator and a con.

      http://www.parliament.uk/business/news/2011/july/letter-to-viscount-monckton/

      I am afraid that when it comes to the not particularly honorable Viscount Monckton of Brenchley, civility and propriety are not particularly in order, the rather unpleasant truths about that shady character being far more relevant…

      1. Friakel, It is essential to realise that the British establishment uses CAGW for its own ends, anything or anyone who undermines their position draws a degree of fire and perhaps ad hominen abuse. This does not alter the fact however that Christopher Monckton uses his scientific understanding to take issue with the case that holds mankind wholly responsible for the past century or so’s warming trend. In doing so he deploys a formidable intellect that makes for good reasoning. Of course this does not make him right, but he is always worthy of a hearing.
        Regards Barry

        1. Objections to Monckton have nothing to do with AGW but with much simpler things, like calling himself a member of the House of Lords when he isn’t one and never was one.

          The guy is a sorry crook. The guy has much credibility as a politician calling himself a US Marine war veteran when he has never served in the military, not even the Coast Guard fanfare.

          1. The guy has much credibility as a politician calling himself a US Marine war veteran when he has never served in the military, not even the Coast Guard fanfare.

            He also has as much credibility as a guy calling himself a Chief Scientist when he never earned a single degree or calling himself a nuclear trained submarine officer when he resigned his commission 16 months before the first nuclear powered submarine ever operated at sea.

            He also has as much credibility as a disgruntled ex nuclear industry executive who claims to have been a licensed reactor operator based on having qualified to operate the 100 WATT critical assembly at RPI and the guy who claims to be a nuclear expert who served as a senior advisor in the Department of Energy – even though he dropped out of college as a music major and even though he was fired from that political appointee position at the DOE after having been arrested for growing dozens of pot plants in his basement for “personal use.”

      2. Friakel Wippans, I will assume that you are not a malicious liar but just an ill informed warmist repeating half truths in your attacks on THE VISCOUNT MONCKTON OF BRENCHLEY. You are trying to blacken the name of Mockton so as to deflect any reader from the substance of Mockton’s arguments. Your ad hominem dissimulations must be answered. Mockton inherited a peerage. The confusion of his status arises out of the House of Lords act of 1999 which stripped hereditary peers of an automatic right to sit and vote in the House of Lords.

        Lurkers can read the facts about the smear here:
        http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/odonoghue-lords-opinion.pdf
        http://joannenova.com.au/2011/07/lord-christopher-monckton-and-that-waste-of-time-lord-debate/

        in Mockton’s words:

        “The House of Lords Act 1999 debarred all but 92 of the 650 Hereditary Peers, including my father, from sitting or voting, and purported to – but did not – remove membership of the Upper House. Letters Patent granting peerages, and consequently membership, are the personal gift of the Monarch. Only a specific law can annul a grant. The 1999 Act was a general law. The then Government, realizing this defect, took three maladroit steps: it wrote asking expelled Peers to return their Letters Patent (though that does not annul them); in 2009 it withdrew the passes admitting expelled Peers to the House (and implying they were members); and it told the enquiry clerks to deny they were members: but a written Parliamentary Answer by the Lord President of the Council admits that general legislation cannot annul Letters Patent, so I am The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley (as my passport shows), a member of the Upper House but without the right to sit or vote, and I have never pretended otherwise.”

        Dan Kurt

    2. Monckton has been described as a climate denier simply because he is one – because most of what he says has been consistently and repeatedly debunked, and he is wildly inconsistent and misleading.

      Example: http://youtu.be/9K74fzNAUq4

  3. Why Not??? The AGW crowd has taken over Wikipedia, Google, and all of MSM. You can’t even watch a film on NATGeo without a five minute pitch on how mankind is destroying the earth with “Carbon.” Even a recent NAT Geo film on volcanoes ended with how the increase in CO2 caused the earth to warm up and thus caused the eruption. Give me a break.

    It was two degrees C warmer during the Medieval Warming Period and mankind was much better off than today, yet the AGW crowd want to drastic measures taken to eliminate this. Look at the wording in the Cap-n-Trade bill. It contains statements to the effect that the president can in essence, declare martial law with regards to energy production/use if we exceed this temperature increase which again, all the warmests claim is inevitable with NEGATIVE growth of CO2 concentration. That means he could declare that you could only drive your car on odd/even days according to your SSN#, that all CO2 emitting power plants would have to shut down, etc. What are we trying to avoid? When it was colder, during the Little Ice Age, we had such great things as the Black Plague, the Irish Potato famine, many mass extensions can be attributed to lower temperatures, few can be attributed to higher temperatures. Worse yet, any professor of geology will tell you that we are, in geological time frames, just over a major Ice Age (not one of these cooling off periods the AGW morons like to throw at us), and that means the Earth is going to warm up – thus the rise in global temperature, with or without CO2. Furthermore, every graph of temperature/CO2 developed by a geologists shows CO2 lagging temperature changes, not leading. That tells me that the temperature increase causes the CO2 increase NOT that CO2 increase causes temperature increase. The graphs/charts are on the internet, look for them – just stay away from Wikipedia as it has been co-opted by the AGW morons.

  4. Why Not??? The AGW crowd has taken over Wikipedia, Google, and all of MSM. You can’t even watch a film on NATGeo without a five minute pitch on how mankind is destroying the earth with “Carbon.” Even a recent NAT Geo film on volcanoes ended with how the increase in CO2 caused the earth to warm up and thus caused the eruption. Give me a break.

    It was two degrees C warmer during the Medieval Warming Period and mankind was much better off than today, yet the AGW crowd wants drastic measures taken to eliminate this. Look at the wording in the Cap-n-Trade bill. It contains statements to the effect that the president can, in essence, declare martial law with regards to energy production/use if we exceed this temperature increase, which again, all the warmests claim is inevitable with NEGATIVE growth of CO2 concentration. That means he could declare that you could only drive your car on odd/even days according to your plate#, that all CO2 emitting power plants would have to shut down, etc. What are we trying to avoid? When it was colder, during the Little Ice Age, we had such great things as the Black Plague, the Irish Potato famine, etc. Also, many mass extensions can be attributed to lower temperatures, few can be attributed to higher temperatures. Worse yet, any professor of geology will tell you that we are, in geological time frames, just over a major Ice Age (not one of these cooling off periods the AGW morons like to throw at us with their graphs), and that means the Earth is going to warm up – thus the rise in global temperature, with or without CO2. The end of Little Ice Age is ALWAYS the beginning of any graph they give you. ” Since 1850 the global temperature has risen by ….” Furthermore, every graph of temperature/CO2 developed by a geologists shows CO2 lagging temperature changes, not leading. That tells me that the temperature increase causes the CO2 increase NOT that CO2 increase causes temperature increase. The graphs/charts are on the internet, look for them – just stay away from Wikipedia as it has been co-opted by the AGW morons.

    I strongly support not polluting the earth, land, water, air, etc. But is CO2 really a pollutant? Decrease CO2 to levels back in 1600 – 1800 and look at the growth rate of plants. But I guess that will help the I=PAT and drastically reduce P in the process. Is that what you want? Is man the pollutant you are really trying to get rid of?

    1. Sorry for double post. Did not realize It happened.

      Now that the second ClimateGate e-mail dump is blowing more holes in the CO2 hysteria balloon, here is the new line of attack on mankind. The following link is to a copy of confidential minutes from a recent UN meeting for the upcoming RIO+20.
      http://www.foxnews.com/interactive/world/2012/02/09/minutes-closed-door-retreat-on-rio-20-ambitions/

      Seems more like “Soylent Green” than a “green economy.”

      And you read this where in MSM?

    2. Rich,

      You ask “What are we trying to avoid?” Just for starters the likely destruction of almost all the world’s tropical coral reefs.

      I urge you to watch this very articulate presentation by Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg of the University of Qld. The evidence is compelling on the risk posed by a 2C average rise in temperature and the rising ocean acidity.

      http://blip.tv/the-video-project/climate-change-coral-reefs-on-the-edge-2896312

      Then revisit the question – “Is CO2 a pollutant?”

      1. Then how did we get the massive amounts of limestone (coral) that was laid down in the oceans when the CO2 was a 1000 times higher. Why didint the acidic ocean (from all of this CO2 disolve all of the lime stone. Some of the AGW science does not compute and is not logical.

      2. There are just as many presentations, studies, papers. declaring that there is NO correlation, there is NO temperature increase, etc.

        Here are two I found in less than a minute on the internet. (DO NOT USE GOOGLE as they are biased.)

        http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/images/stories/papers/originals/coral_co2_warming.pdf

        http://mclean.ch/climate/GBR_sea_temperature.htm

        Yes, I know you will respond with “Those people do not know what they are talking about.” or words to that effect. READF the Climate Gate e-mails, your opinion may change.

        1. @Rich – I have a lot of well-supported science papers on the topic. They generally support the conclusion that we should be taking effective action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. I do not take my cues from any advertiser supported media sources nor from any fossil fuel sponsored think tanks.

          I also do not take my cues from alarmists (who are really wind, solar and gas system salesmen in sheep’s clothing) who tell me that time is so tight that we cannot afford to invest our efforts on building new nuclear power stations.

          We need to stop dumping so much stuff into the atmosphere under the disproven assumption that it is okay to keep doing so without considering the potential consequences.

          Anytime anyone mentions any word and appends the suffix of “gate” I know that they have an agenda that has little to do with truth, justice, science or good engineering.

        2. Read the e-mails! Don’t knock something you have not read.
          I personally know of a SS Lt Commander that got passed over and sent to Adak Alaska, for actions that would be considered trivial compared to the actions of the so called “environmental experts.” Massaging the data, ignoring the data, exaggerating the conclusions, etc. and bragging about it in their e-mails to each other. Their ethics is appalling. They would have been kicked out of any respectable college, but I guess the college(s) need the multi-million dollar grants.

          There is as much proof that “Cold Fusion” works as there is for CO2 being THE cause for “Global whatever you want to call it this year.” The so-called “experts” still deny and refuse to accept the effects of the Sun and the effects of the changes in radiation other than “light” or “infrared” on the Earth. WHY? Why do they deny the (peer reviewed) study by CERN and the one by Ulrik Ingerslev Uggerhøj, Physics and Astronomy and others supporting and verifying his findings? It is also supported by the present cooling of the earth, as predicted by these studies, due to the increased solar activity. Look at the comments the “experts” have made about these studies that contradict their SCAM and threaten their gravy train.

          1. Do you really want me to believe that an academic gravy train is responsible for a better misinformation campaign than one that can be waged by corporations that earn as much as $12 billion per QUARTER in profits?

            Give me a break.

            These alleged emails – what portion of the traffic among scientists do they represent? I just did a quick check of my own personal email records – I have sent more than 12,000 emails since purchasing my current computer. I am positive there are some in there that can be taken out of context and twisted by talented PR folks.

            I cannot imagine how many emails were sifted through in order to find the ones that you are claiming represent such egregious dishonesty.

            There is no doubt that CO2 is a greenhouse gas and there is no doubt that its concentrations have been gradually increasing since the start of the industrial (fossil fuel powered) age. The only real doubts are how fast the changes occur in the extremely complex system of additions and subtractions of our planetary atmosphere and oceans. Ocean environmental scientists like Dr. Rip Anderson – Gwyneth Craven’s tour guide in “Power to Save the World” – have convinced me that ocean acidification is actually more immediately worrisome than global climate change.

            By the way – you are essentially an anonymous internet commenter. Please help me to understand why I should believe you over someone like Dr. Barry Brook, Dr. James Hansen, Dr. James Lovelock, or Dr. Anderson.

        3. @Rod and others:
          The two pages I listed were simply the first two that disagreed with the “acceptable” opinion, supporting that there was no danger to the GBR. This was only meant to show there is NO consensus. If you spend some time LOOKING you can find MANY more with no real consensus either way. I even found several studies claiming that even with the recent rise in temperature at the GBR that there was no discernible change in coral http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3053361/
          Where is the documentation that there was a massive die-off/bleaching of coral during the Medieval Warming Period. I can’t find any.
          Are you refuting the Black Plague, The Irish Potato Famine and the other European famines that occurred during the Little Ice Age? Where is your documentation?
          Please provide me with a graph that shows through at least the last 100 million years that a rise in CO2 preceded a rise in global temperature. Now before you flame me again, I will not dispute that CO2 could be a GHG, however, everyone, on both sides also agree that it has less than 1/100 of the effect of H2O (ignoring any of this magic, pixy dust “forcing” caused by CO2) This is where their “science” falls apart. Any competent engineer/mathematician (and I am both) that develops computer models (and I have developed computer models of both fossil and nuclear power plants) will tell you that: Whether negative or positive, when one feedback mechanism is less than 1/10 of the effect of the larger it’s effect can be ignored. Any nuke that has performed an ECP has done this. Your Stereo Amplifier relies on this principle. (Is the modeling better if included – yes. BUT, there is a law of diminishing returns and rarely included when less than 1/20th. However, with something as dynamic/volatile as the earth’s climate, you could get a good representation while ignoring something as large as 1/5th.))
          They make lots of money selling their opinions which also helps them get more grants, which helps them charge more for their consulting fees. You might want to look into how/where Dr. James Hansen makes hundreds of thousands of dollars a year “consulting,” while on a government salary, and on government time. Do a search on ” Dr. James Hansen consulting fees” and while you are at it, do it on Google, Bing, Dogpile, and a few others and count the number of negative per search site. The difference is amazing. And you mock me when I claim there is bias. (You might also try positive article just for kicks or to see who defends this.) And when a recent controversial bill was being debated in the House, Google could not find it. I was using the exact title as given by my congressman, no luck. I cut and pasted the title from the search box in Google into BING and it was at the top of the list. It is a given that Google (and Bing) makes BIG money from slanting their searches toward advertisers, and there have been many stories on that. Not in the MSM though.
          Spend some REAL time on Wikipedia and you will get a similar opinion about controversial subjects. The Wikipedia article on the Medieval Warming Period still has the temperature below that of 2000, even though M. Mann has stated that this was incorrect and that it was actually warmer back then. I will not west your bandwidth listing all of the other things that are wrong, e.g. TMI accident is another good example.
          I am retired and try to spend time on web sites on both sides of the fence on this topic, so as to maintain a balanced view. But, as I said, I still see science that does not compute, is illogical, and ignores data and/or studies that do not fit their opinion.
          I did not know I had to post my CV to use this page. And I may be anonymous, but I have been a regular on this blog, with the same name, for more than a few years, sorry I don’t keep a diary to tell you exactly how long. So you should have a feeling as to the worthiness of my comments. The only opinion I expressed is that ” The AGW crowd has taken over Wikipedia, Google, and all of MSM” and that there is NO correlation between CO2 and Global warming. I did not say there is NO Global warming, my opinion on that is that it is/was caused by the end of the Little Ice Age. I also pointed to several articles (peer reviewed) that indicate that the effects of cosmic particles and particles given off by the Sun, which affect cloud cover, are not being factored into the AGW bible. PROVE ME WRONG don’t berate me.

        4. PROVE ME WRONG don’t berate me.

          Guess what Rich? It’s not about you. We don’t have to justify our stand on any issue to you or anyone else. Yes, as rational thinkers we hope we are keeping open minds, but when anyone shows up in this, or any other comment thread, anywhere asserting that we need to prove him or her wrong, especially when they imply our failure or unwillingness to do so is some indication that they are correct, I suggest that they get over themselves. Who cares what you want?

          If you wish to be taken seriously, you must understand that the onus is on you to prove your assertions, to our satisfaction never the other way around.

          I find it difficult to understand why, given that you claim to be educated, that you need to be reminded of this.

      3. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/health-science/study-finds-coral-reef-growth-thrives-in-warmer-waters/story-e6frg8y6-1226261278615

        A GOVERNMENT-RUN research body has found in an extensive study of corals spanning more than 1000km of Australia’s coastline that the past 110 years of ocean warming has been good for their growth.

        The findings undermine blanket predictions that global warming will devastate coral reefs, and add to a growing body of evidence showing corals are more resilient than previously thought, up to a certain point.

        The study by the commonwealth-funded Australian Institute of Marine Science, peer-reviewed findings of which are published in the leading journal Science today, examined 27 samples from six locations from the West Australian coast off Geraldton to offshore from Darwin.

        At each site, scientists took cores from massive porites corals – similar to a biopsy in humans – and counted back to record their age in much the same way tree rings are counted. Although some cores extended back to the 18th century, they focused on the period from 1900 to 2010.

        The researchers found that, contrary to their expectations, warmer waters had not negatively affected coral growth. Quite the opposite, in fact: for their southern samples, where ocean temperatures are the coolest but have warmed the most, coral growth increased most significantly over the past 110 years. For their northern samples, where waters are the warmest and have changed the least, coral growth still increased, but not by as much.

        … continued at link …

        1. @Michael – I am pretty sure that the worries that people like Rip Anderson have about the impact of CO2 dumping on coral reefs is based on the fact that dissolving CO2 into water changes the pH. Ocean acidification is their concern, not ocean warming.

          Based on my completely unscientific snorkeling trips over the years, I have determined that coral reefs and tropical fish often like water that is at bathtub temperatures.

        2. Perhaps this is good news and perhaps it is not as good as one might at first think. For a start, I would always be very cautious about MSM science reporting and especially it’s interpretation and conclusions (ie spin) about the significance of some paper. In particular, if the findings are in some sense at odds with a previous body of research (at least in the eyes of the MSM), then it really does pay to be cautious and wait a bit until real scientists have an opportunity to digest the new work. Science is full of apparently contradictory findings and reconciling them is to some extent what scientists live for.

          Prof. Hoegh-Guldberg in the video I linked above discusses the effect of abnormally high summer temperatures as for example, during the exceptionally strong El Nino in 1998 and the consequent severe bleaching events. Such events can be expected to be more intense and possibly more frequent as average global temperature rises. Even if there is adaptation as suggested by the the report in The Australian, it may not be sufficient to overcome the periodic destructive bleaching. If the reef ecosystems are also under stress from other factors such as pollution and acidification, the recovery from bleaching events may be further impeded.

          I’m quite sure that I do not have the degree of knowledge to draw definitive conclusions about all of this and humbly suggest that no other commentators here do either. However I do suggest that latching onto some recent paper, or the interpretations put on it by the MSM is unwise and doubly unwise when there are claims that that said paper purportedly overturns a large existing body of scientific knowledge. Seek out what real scientists are saying about it.

  5. Ahem … Current TV … cough cough

    Gee … I wonder where Monckton could have gotten this idea?

    1. Brian, if you watch the video there is no reason at all to guess about Monckton’s inspiration. He clearly and repeatedly expresses his admiration for the Fox Network, which is a far more successful effort to use the mainstream media tools as a way to influence mass thinking than Current is or ever will be.

      The difference is going big and attracting the superrich to support the investment. It includes such efforts as getting into big time sports and edgy dramas to attract a critical mass of viewers. It includes making sure that the news “presenters” are “hot babes” to get as many eyeballs attached to uncritical ears as possible. (I hope that none of my readers take offense, but I am only calling the propagada technique as I see it.)

      1. Eh … Fox gets attention because it’s successful, and one reason that it’s successful is that it hired away much of CNN’s talent. Talent matters. Presentation matters. Thus, Fox also has some of the best hairstylists working in television. I hate to think how much they must spend on hairspray in a year.

        The difference is going big and attracting the superrich to support the investment.

        Huh? You must be joking!

        Difference? What difference? All sides play that game, and they have been playing it for a long time. For example, I wouldn’t exactly call CNN’s Ted Turner poor. Would you?

        Don’t forget that the “MS” in MSNBC stands for Microsoft, which helped found the network. I wouldn’t exactly call Bill Gates or Microsoft poor. Would you?

        It helps to have investment from the superrich when starting a news channel, particularly if you hope for it to be successful.

        It’s no secret that George Soros gives plenty of financial support to Media Matters, the anti-Fox attack website. He is also a major donor behind Think Progress, as are several other billionaires. This site is the avant-garde in spreading “we’re-all-going-to-die” climate-related hysteria and renewable-industry propaganda. Remember Joe Romm?

        Personally, I’m not worried about Fox News or the formation of an Australian Fox-News lookalike. I’m more worried that many twenty-somethings today get all of their news from Jon Stewart and Facebook.

        1. Ted Turner is a natural gas mogul in environmentalist clothing.

          I was referring to Current compared to Fox. Quite frankly I am over my head in any discussion of television news – I have spent 52 years watching as little as possible. My main knowledge of Fox comes from my inability to escape the screens at the gym while I was working in DC in a section of town where nearly everyone who was not a commissioned officer in the US military was a retired commissioned officer from the US military or someone who served a little while before starting to work for a contractor.

          That same is not exactly a random sample of the US population or even of the DC population.

  6. You’re right, ‘climate change denier’ is not really adequate. How about ‘crank’, ‘crackpot’ or, keeping the Australian theme, ‘person with a few kangaroos loose in the top paddock’.

    He has been debunked so many times by real scientists (Monckton is not – he doesn’t even have bachelor’s degree in any science) that it’s getting ridiculous.

    A small sample http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=duxG4lyeSlc

    1. Well, he’s definitely eccentric.

      How about settling on describing him as the “Al Gore” of the “deniers” (to borrow a derogatory term from a bunch of people who rely on name-calling as a substitute for substance in their arguments)? Does that work?

      1. That would be fine – as you know, I have little respect for Al Gore, Jr. His daddy recognized that nuclear energy was incredible and should be encouraged, but Junior appears to have been seduced by the natural gas focused crowd with whom he served during the Clinton Administration.

      2. I think a better comparison is to say that Monckeyboy is to climate change what Helen Caldicott or Arnie Gundersen is to nuclear power.

  7. It is curious Lord Monckton would advocate a Fox-type news channel for Australia. Rupert Murdoch is an Australian. His News Corp (parent company to Fox) has a wide presence down under, including New Zealand. Not all News Corp media companies have the same political approach as Fox News, but if Murdoch wanted to make an Aussie version, I’m sure he could do it.

    Bottom line for me. It doesn’t matter if CO2-caused global warming is a real problem or not. Nuclear power is still a good idea. Natural gas has too many other good uses than simply burning it (fertilizer production, as one example). Using uranium and eventually thorium for electricity production is a much better use of natural resources. Also, nobody knows what the price of natural gas will be in 10, 20 or 50 years. It would be good to diversify the energy portfolio with some nuclear to absorb the price volatility associated with fossil fuels.

  8. Next week, Feb 19, at 8 pm on CNN:

    Nuclear Standoff

    From the preview, looks like poor journalism again …

  9. Do you really want me to believe that an academic gravy train is responsible for a better misinformation campaign than one that can be waged by corporations that earn as much as $12 billion per QUARTER in profits?

    Rod – But corporations have certain obligations, like paying dividends to shareholders. It’s not as if they’re spending all of their profits funding misinformers.

    Meanwhile, have you ever taken a look at the size of the “academic gravy train”?

    The National Science Foundation’s (NSF’s) budget request to Congress for FY2012 was $7.8 billion. Guess who was number 3 in the top 50 institutions (in terms of funding) that were awarded grants for FY2011? It was the University Corporation For Atmospheric Research (UCAR). Gee … I wonder what they study? (Hint: Climate change)

    This is just one government funding source in just one country.

    Back in the late nineties, when I was riding this particular gravy train to pay my way through school, my funding didn’t come from the NSF. I was funded by NASA and its “Mission to Planet Earth” (MTPE) program. Back then, this program had an annual budget of almost one and a half billion dollars (late 90’s dollars, and I personally received very very little of that, since I was just an insignificant graduate student). It represented the majority of the budget for the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), a program initiated in the Reagan years, but which came into its own during the Clinton/Gore administration. MTPE was a critical component of the USGCRP from the beginning.

    What is the purpose of the “Mission to Planet Earth” program? Well, it was pretty well stated during a Senate Hearing on April 24, 1991, when (guess who?) Senator Al Gore explained the mission of the “Mission.” Rather than a broad, benign scientific research program to better understand nature and investigate how the systems of the Earth work, Gore clearly explained that the MTPE should be a program to accomplish “only what’s needed to develop public policy,” adding that “it does no good to the Congress nor to the administration to collect data that is not timely or useful as decisions about the future of our planet are being debated.”

    Senator Ernest Hollings was kind enough to explain further, in the same hearing, that MTPE’s research “will help policymakers take appropriate actions to help improve the Earth’s environment.” So this program was never intended to be a scientific program, it was always intended to be an environmentalist program with the specific charge of providing (only) whatever is needed to alter public policy in a way that helps the environmentalist agenda.

    Now say that you’re a researcher and you have just received a grant from this program. What do you think that you’re going to take away from this program’s core mission as explained by Al Gore, who was a key force in getting this program started? Suppose further that you’re a relatively young researcher and the success of the research from the grants you receive will determine whether you will get tenure or whether you will need to go elsewhere to find another job. What do you think that you would do then?

    My graduate research was in the development of advanced numerical methods. When I applied to NASA for funding, I submitted about a dozen proposals, each outlining a different application in science and engineering for the methods that I was working with. Which proposal did NASA decide to fund? Given Gore’s comments above, it is not surprising that it was the proposal with applications for climate modeling.

    If you’ve ever wondered why we now have to rely on the Russians to send a man into space, or why we haven’t been to the moon in almost 40 years, or why all of our space exploration is now carried out by programs funded on shoe-string budgets and which use robots instead of astronauts, you now know where all of the money has been going to.

    Rod, you like to point out all of the nefarious incentives in the corporate world, particularly in positions of power in industries such as coal, oil, and natural gas. Yet, you frequently turn a blind eye to the incentives in the academic and government research sphere of funding. I’ve seen this stuff first hand, and I got the hell out as soon as I could.

    Finally, I should add that I haven’t even touched on the awards that pop-star researchers receive from various foundations with obvious, or not-so-obvious, agendas. For example, James Hansen has shared in a million-dollar award (Dan David Prize) and other awards that involve a non-insubstantial amount of money (Heinz Award). With incentives like these, it’s no wonder that he is such an active “eco-campaigner” these days.

    1. @Brian:

      “Rod – But corporations have certain obligations, like paying dividends to shareholders. It’s not as if they’re spending all of their profits funding misinformers.”

      Public corporations also have the obligation to publish a certain amount of financial information. I have read the quarterly and annual reports for ExxonMobil, Chevron, and Shell for the past several years.

      The amount of revenue and free cash flow is rather impressive, especially for companies whose dividend payments are rather meager.

      Here is just one tiny example:

      ExxonMobil’s world wide revenue in 2010 was $370 billion dollars. That is roughly 2.2 times the total US Navy’s annual budget. The company has about 83,000 employees; the US Navy has employes about 330,000 active duty sailors and officers, 200,000 or so federal civil servants and about 200,000-400,000 full time contractors (that is a really hard number to compute, by the way).

      Exxon’s computed, after tax earnings were $30 billion; $6.24 per share. Its dividend payment was $1.74 per share.

      In between $370 billion and $30 billion in reported earnings – with just $8.4 billion paid to shareholders in the form of dividends – there is a lot of cash that can be spent in a number of ways. Some is certainly spent on business operations like exploration, drilling and transporting oil & natural gas, but those numbers from just one of several major oil & gas producers make NASA’s annual research budget look pretty puny.

      You mentioned how you felt as a researcher who wanted to keep doing research; how do you think the young marketing types who land a dream job as one of the 83,000 people working for ExxonMobil feel about pleasing their bosses by helping to increase sales and profits and by defending the company’s main product line against restrictions or increased taxation?

      My experiences with people who pursue science and engineering leads me to believe in their above average honesty and integrity. I cannot say the same thing about my experiences with people who choose marketing, advertising, legal and accounting careers.

      1. Long copy and paste quote from another author deleted as a violation of copyright. Links to opinion pieces like that are acceptable.

          1. As a former line officer in the US Navy, I can assure you that we NEVER practiced keelhauling. We also have rather high standards of evidence and adhere to a uniform code of military justice that allows the accused to provide evidence and to call character witnesses. We are well aware of the potential hazards of false accusations, both to the accused and to the general morale of the crew.

            Here is a statement from James Hansen regarding the ethical accusations from the former television weatherman to which you have linked.

            http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/2012/20120130_CowardsPart2.pdf

            Here is the quote from Watt’s About page supporting my description of his qualifications:

            “I’m a former television meteorologist who spent 25 years on the air and who also operates a weather technology and content business, as well as continues daily forecasting on radio, just for fun.”

        1. I am sure that you know what I meant when I used the term “keelhaul.” It was used quite often while was in the Navy when implying that a sailor (yes even an officer) was in big trouble and his career was ruined. Or were you in a different Navy?

          Did you look at the page?

          The data was NOT provided by Watts, he just printed it. It is from other sources. A simple search will confirm that many others have the same problem with Hansen’s questionable ethical??? behavior. Even Google will find more than a dozen. I think you would have found fault with the link even if it was to MSNBC.

          Again, you don’t like the facts, so you try to make me look like an idiot. Do they teach that in the Academe now? Sounds more like Saul Alinsky “Rules for Radicals.”

      2. Rod – Huh? Sorry, but your arguments are starting to head off into funny space.

        It appears that you’re now trying to argue that some people won’t toe the official line of their employers, because you claim that some other people do toe the official line of their employers.

        How is an employee of ExxonMobil more susceptible to pressure from above than an employee of NASA? Do you have something against the private sector?

        What’s even more confusing is that you keep bringing up dollar amounts as if this were some sort of bidding war. Well, first of all, I haven’t even started to cover the amounts of money that are spent internationally on climate research. I just mentioned funding in the US, which has been a rather reluctant participant in this stuff — we refused to ratify Kyoto, after all.

        More importantly, however, this is not a bidding war!

        If it were, then the companies that you talk about would spend the amounts that you talk about to simply hire the inconvenient researchers and pay them to sit on their hands and do nothing (with the appropriate nondisclosure clauses in place to keep their mouths shut, of course). If tens of billions of dollars were available to spend on squashing this problem, then they could certainly outbid, say, NASA, which has to spend much of its billion or two on stuff like satellites, sensors, and the additional equipment to go along with them.

        You might try to argue that some of these noble scientists might refuse such filthy lucre, but then again, a common theme in your diaries, which you have harped on again and again, is that nobody is incorruptible if the amount of money is enough. Thus, we have watched you argue that the leaders of environmentalist organizations have sold themselves out to coal, oil, and gas interests. If these dedicated (and often wealthy) environmentalists are not immune to such corruption, what does that say about a relatively unknown scientist who just wants to be able to pay his mortgage and send his kids to a decent college?

        1. @Brian:

          Either I am not writing very well or you are not reading closely.

          I have never said that nobody is incorruptible. I know and have worked with many fine, truth seeking people with such high integrity that they could not be paid to tell a lie no matter how high the price. Most of those people are self confident, guided by their upbringing, and care deeply about their fellow man. I am making a huge generalization here, but I have found a FAR higher percentage of those types of individuals working in the nuclear industry and on nuclear powered submarines than in any of the other venues in which I have traveled in the past 35 years.

          In contrast, I have also met a fairly significant number of people who would say almost anything if they thought it would help their career. I have watched them prepare elaborate presentations and talk for hours about how to “spin” bad news. I have watched them create fictions out of whole cloth and try to figure out ways to tell their audience that it is raining when the real fluid being poured is more like piss. Again, a HUGE generalization, but I have found a large portion of those types of people in the “climber” ranks of large organizations (government, for-profit, and “non-profit”), in marketing departments, and in academic departments that have no natural sources of funding.

          When dealing with people like those in the second paragraph, it really is a bidding war. They will sell their considerable creative talents to the highest bidder or the one that seems most likely to be able to sustain the payments over time.

          As I have often told people, if you want reliable funding, NEVER apply to the government because it is a horribly unreliable paymaster that is often late and frequently cancels projects without warning.

          BTW – most decent scientists have no worries at all about paying their mortgage and sending their kids to a decent college. I am well aware of academic compensation levels, and also aware of the excellent, often reciprocal arrangements that colleges offer their professors for educating dependents.

          You mentioned that you have only scratched the surface with regard to the money available to climate researchers. Well, I only published the numbers from a single company that has less than a 3% share of the world’s hydrocarbon fuels market.

        2. Again, a HUGE generalization, but I have found a large portion of those types of people in the “climber” ranks of large organizations (government, for-profit, and “non-profit”), in marketing departments, and in academic departments that have no natural sources of funding.

          Rod – You mean like climate research, which has no “natural” source of funding outside of government grants, in any country?

          The rank-and-file is composed mostly of decent people just doing their jobs. It’s the “climbers” and the people (usually politicians) that they report to who set the agenda and dictate what is expected.

          As I have often told people, if you want reliable funding, NEVER apply to the government because it is a horribly unreliable paymaster that is often late and frequently cancels projects without warning.

          You might want to mention that to “Brian” below, who works for Los Alamos. I’m willing to bet, however, that his paychecks are reliable. 😉

          Seriously, however, I know what you mean. Both my wife and I rely on government funding to greater or lesser extents to pay the bills. I’m lucky in that, in my job, I can find work in the private side of my company to see me through the droughts in government project money. My wife, however, relies exclusively on government grants to fund her work, and such funding is unreliable, as you say.

          That’s why anyone in the position of relying on such unreliable support has every incentive to produce results that encourage additional funding. Doesn’t that naturally follow?

          I’m not saying that all (or even many) of these people are corrupt, but people aren’t too stupid to know how to play the game. You’re familiar with how government works, so consider this example. How many government programs that you have encountered willingly underspent their budget? I’m willing to bet that it is very few, because those in charge of the program know that if they don’t spend all (or almost all) of their budget for the current year, they run the risk of having their budget reduced next year. These are the sticks and the carrots.

          Once again, I’ll point out that the purpose of my comment was to point out just how much money is out there to support the “consensus” narrative and to point out the attitude of the paymasters.

          1. @Brian

            “Once again, I’ll point out that the purpose of my comment was to point out just how much money is out there to support the “consensus” narrative and to point out the attitude of the paymasters.

            And I’ll sign off on this particular thread by saying that one of my main purposes on Atomic Insights is to point out just how much money there is out there to support the consensus narrative of the fossil fuel industry that all human society must continue to be addicted to their rather inferior, often dirty, always explosive, and rapidly depleting fuel sources.

            Maintaining that addiction in the face of solid facts about the superiority of nuclear energy, the low (or no) hazard of exposure to low level radiation doses, the growing risks of disruptions due to scarcity, and the growing danger of the build up of massive quantities of waste products – some of which have infinite half lives – means spending a whole lot of money on advertising, political manipulation, and obfuscation efforts masquerading as science.

            The bad news in my side of the story is that the 3-6 trillion dollar per year hydrocarbon industry throws off enough cash to attract some really immoral people who will do or say anything in order to get rich. It also attracts a supporting cast of people without real integrity who will do anything to make just a little more money, even if they do not get rich. The resulting confusion can even affect the judgement of generally well educated people who are not specialists in some of the specific topics that are being widely discussed in very confusing terms.

            For the establishment that desires to maintain its wealth and power, confusion and arguments among those that know about a tool that can change the whole game is the best available result. That confusion allows the continuation of the status quo – burning about 6 billion tons of coal, 100 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, and 29 billion barrels of oil (with a slow rate of growth) per year at prices that generally increase slightly faster than inflation (and which are the major drivers in inflation anyway.)

        3. Rod, this 3:21 am 2/14/12 comment looks to me like a decent candidate to be expounded into a full-blown posting at some later date.

          The scales of fossil fuel production on a world-wide basis do a nice job of highlighting where many, many people’s incentives lie.

    2. Brian,

      I get where you are coming from, but I’ve had enough of people using innuendo to paint an entire group of professionals as corrupt. What you’re telling me is that 99.9+% of all climate scientists are either uncurious, incompetent, or malevolent. Seems to me that would be the only possibility to get to the point of broad scientific consensus that we have now.

      If we assume most climate scientists behave with integrity and know what they’re talking about (I do, unless you provide very specific evidence otherwise), don’t you think large chinks in the orthodoxy would have begin to form already? Where are the bright, young, and ambitious postdocs and professors looking to overturn the orthodoxy and achieve recognition, like every other scientific field I’m aware?

      If it’s so obvious that even amateurs such as ourselves can find the gaps, we would be seeing all sorts of young professors clamoring with their latest data refuting the “standard model”. Even if we assume the bright are also greedy and are fearful of losing grant money, there are plenty of very wealthy organizations that would pay large sums of money in consulting fees, which would easily dwarf the salary of a full professor at a major research university, for such research.

      1. but I ve had enough of people using innuendo to paint an entire group of professionals as corrupt. What you re telling me is that 99.9+% of all climate scientists are either uncurious, incompetent, or malevolent.

        Brian – No, that is not what I said. I was just countering Rod’s naive comment about the “academic gravy train.” I thought that a few figures and a little perspective would be in order.

        The rest of your comment demonstrates that you have absolutely no understanding about how funding in government and academia works. Instead, you’ve insulted my intelligence by dragging out that old canard about “bright, young, and ambitious” researchers overturning the old order with breathtaking science that turns the current orthodoxy on its head.

        Sorry, but modern science doesn’t really work that way.

        Do you really have any idea how much money and effort goes into, say, just one of these climate models that are used to justify the IPCC narrative? The groups that develop these models today employ dozens of scientists, programmers, and other peripheral personnel (scores if you look at the history of these models and consider how many hands have been involved over the years).

        Do you really think that some postdoc, no matter how “bright” or “ambitious,” is going to be able to counter that effort? More importantly, why should he or she want to? Where are the upcoming research grants to be had in studying the idea that nothing important is happening?

        No, the key to success in this field, as has been well-demonstrated, is to publish a key piece of research (no matter how poorly done) that agrees with what those in positions of influence want the narrative to say. With this in mind, it is no wonder that an “ambitious” researcher went from being a PhD candidate at Yale to being head of an entire program at a major university within six years. That’s the road for the bright and ambitious.

        Is there any wonder why most dissenters to the “consensus” in the academic world are either chaired professors with solid tenure or are retired or close to retirement? These are the folks who have nothing to lose, since they no longer have to live off of grant funding, nor do they have to worry about whether they will have a job three years from now.

        1. Brian,

          “The rest of your comment demonstrates that you have absolutely no understanding about how funding in government and academia works.”

          Okay, now you’re insulting me, since you assume I am clueless. I have a different perspective at the scientific enterprise. For the record, I am a Los Alamos scientist, nuclear engineering PhD, and I’ve never felt the kind of pressure you’re describing. In fact, just the opposite at all levels of my graduate education and employment.

          “More importantly, why should he or she want to? Where are the upcoming research grants to be had in studying the idea that nothing important is happening?”

          Integrity. Most scientists I know personally have it. I won’t speak for myself, but I will say I’ve never been afraid as a young scientist to go up against the old ways of doing things. While I haven’t overturned anything, I have poked holes in the way things were. The response has generally been positive. Again, maybe our field is unique in this regard; I hope not.

          As a counter point, we see the opposite take place in our field. There are notable people with nuclear-related degrees that have gone over to the “anti-nuclear industry” and have done well for themselves. If those without real evidence on their side in our field can find a lucrative lifestyle in the environmental movement, I’m sure there are opportunities for ambitious young professors with solid evidence to pull from the stream of money of those who have every motivation to see climate change disproven. If the fossil industry sees the (let’s suppose false) perception of climate change as a threat to their business, they would be irresponsible not to fund such researchers.

          “Is there any wonder why most dissenters to the “consensus” in the academic world are either chaired professors with solid tenure or are retired or close to retirement?”

          Citation please. More importantly, what percentage of chaired professors in the field of climate science or ones over the age of 55 are against the consensus? I know science is not a democracy, but since (I suspect) neither one of us is qualified to assess the arguments on their technical merit, expert consensus is a useful metric to assess your hypothesis. If this number is small, we’re back to the only logical alternative that the majority of those who have nothing to lose are either mostly delusional and/or unethical, which demands a hefty burden of proof in my book.

        2. As a counter point, we see the opposite take place in our field. There are notable people with nuclear-related degrees that have gone over to the “anti-nuclear industry” and have done well for themselves.

          Brian – Notable? Aside from Dr. Gofman, none of these “renegades” was distinguished in any way. Can you name one?

          Some have become relatively famous recently because of their new day jobs (Arnie Gundersen comes to mind), but that’s only because their new job is to get onto media outlets like Russia Today to spout nonsense.

          Citation please.

          When I wrote what I wrote I had folks like Reid Bryson (now deceased) and Dick Lindzen in mind (perhaps even Bill Gray, who has been outspoken, but is not very knowledgeable outside his particular specialty of hurricanes). Nevertheless, there has been a curious lack of “bright, young, and ambitious postdocs and professors” coming forward with concerns compared to the more established members of the field. You think that this is a sign that the “consensus” orthodoxy is firmly established. I take it as a sign that what we are dealing with is orthodoxy — with its usual rituals of indoctrination — rather than real, robust science.

  10. These alleged emails what portion of the traffic among scientists do they represent?

    Rod – Apparently, they represent a portion of the traffic of only one scientist, Phil Jones of UEA. The reason that they are so interesting is that he corresponds with almost all of the major figures in the climate-science community. The amazing part is that these emails don’t include the personal crap that fills the inboxes and outboxes of all of our email accounts. These emails were clearly selected because of their content.

    Looking at the entirety of the content of the emails, the most logical explanation for their existence is that this collection of emails was compiled by an FOI officer to respond to an FOI request that the university decided to refuse at the last minute. Then, most likely, somebody gained access this collection and decided (perhaps as a result of frustration with the refusal of the FOI request) to release it to the Internet. The British police are still trying to determine who this person could be, without any success.

    I hope that you realize that all of your correspondence using email on B&W servers is subject to subpoena and can be interpreted in court in whatever way the layers are able to get away with. If B&W didn’t explain that to you when you took your job, they should have. As a former government employee, however, you were probably already aware of what can be done with correspondence that is sent using your work account.

    In the case of the UEA emails, since the work at the UEA was being funded by the UK government, the public should already have a right to know what was being discussed. That’s the whole purpose of Freedom of Information legislation.

    I cannot imagine how many emails were sifted through in order to find the ones that you are claiming represent such egregious dishonesty.

    Well, since they’re all out on the Internet now (with the exception of some emails that were “released” but are still in an encrypted file), you are free to sift through the collections yourself to find convincing evidence to support the honesty and integrity of the authors, if you want to.

    Or you can continue to rely on faith, goodwill, and ignorance.

    1. @Brian – for the record, the email that I was referring to is NOT my day job email account. That one is used ONLY for purposes associated with that day job.

      As you are well aware, I have maintained a rather active life on the internet for several decades and fully understand the fact that I should consider everything I write to be even more open than a postcard since it can be discovered with the use of electronic search engines.

      1. Rod,

        The “stolen” emails in question were taken from, I believe, only one person’s correspondence, all conducted with his professional email account. It’s not as if someone raided someone’s hotmail account, or hacked the voice mail of someone’s personal phone.

        That’s the problem. These folks were discussing “business.”

        Lessons learned: If you are going to ask a colleague to delete some questionable email that might violate a UN policy requirement, then you should do it through private email accounts, or preferably, just call the person on the phone, for goodness sake.

        It’s not as if deleting the email in your inbox will remove the trace of that email (most businesses and organizations archive this stuff), but at least you won’t be caught trying to do something that is illegal, like trying to interfere with a Freedom of Information request.

  11. BTW – according to Source Watch, the Science and Public Policy Institute (founded in 2008) draws heavily on the papers of Lord Monckton. In other words, you are using a source based on Lord Monckton’s work to refute my description of Lord Monckton.

    Rod – Duh … Of course, the Science and Public Policy Institute is a biased source with an agenda to push. That, in itself, does not necessarily mean that it is wrong, however.

    Speaking of bias, however, Source Watch is also a biased source with an agenda to push, or haven’t you visited their Nuclear Issues Portal (which exposes “the fallout of nuclear `spin'”)?

    It’s ironically funny that you used a biased source to “debunk” another source as biased. In other words, the next time you have something to say about the kettle, please don’t refer to what the pot has to say.

    You also claim that the world’s largest and most algorithm driven search engine is “biased.”

    And from that, I take it that you don’t own much Microsoft stock. 😉

    Seriously, however, can you tell us what those algorithms are? No, I don’t think that anyone outside of Google can tell us that, and I’m sure that very few people, even within the company, are aware of most of the details that go into their search engines and how they rank sites.

    But it is strange that you worry about companies whose profits extend into the billions, yet you give a free pass to a company with an operating income of $3 billion per QUARTER (2011 numbers, google their financial pages if you don’t believe me). Add on that Google’s sole bread and butter is advertising, and your inconsistency is even more ridiculous. Oil companies might advertise, but they don’t make any money unless they sell oil or natural gas.

    The piece de resistance, however, is that Al Gore, in addition to founding Current TV, is a “senior advisor” to Google, and that Google itself tried (and failed miserably) to break into the “alternative energy” business. Didn’t you notice that?

    If you really believe that money corrupts, as you claim that you do, you cannot ignore the huge incentives Google has to fiddle with its unknown algorithms to steer users to information that would be the most profitable for its business interests, or just as tempting, to steer users away from information that is incompatible with its business interests.

    Do you really buy their “do no evil” slogan? 🙂

  12. Rod,
    This is an interesting debate, although the vitriol directed towards Christopher Monckton does surprise. He however does not need my help to defend himself, he seems quite capable of that on his own.

    Anyway your considered position I take is that AGW is proven, and as such demands a change of direction, one that must incorporate as its central plank nuclear energy, the only means by which we can reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. While I doubt the former, my support for the latter continues to be steadfast. Nonetheless I did wonder if your inclinations to favour AGW owe something to your position over nuclear energy. Would you care to comment?

    How much of your belief in AGW exists because it provides a substansive case for nuclear energy?

    I query because the evidence as I understand it owes more the politics than to science, which to date lacks the understanding to be catagoric. It is neither here nor there whether anyone likes Christopher Monckton, he is capable of standing on his own two feet, but the vitriol here surprises.

    If you would allow, let me reach back to the President Eisenhowers valedictory address in which he cautioned America

    1. @Barry – my position is that I am confident enough in the science I have read to believe that it is shortsighted to assert that humans can continue dumping CO2 into the atmosphere with reckless abandon.

      I have no idea exactly what the effects of putting 20 billion tons per year of long lived gases are going to be; I do not think anyone can claim a perfect understanding of all of the potential interactions in the complex system that supports our current distribution of seas, rainfall, temperatures, etc. What I do know is that our current balance has been rather favorable to the development of our existing human society and its infrastructure. I also know that performing large scale, unintentional experimentation on the only atmosphere we have is stupid if we have an alternative.

      (That is part of the submariner training – we were pretty darned careful about releasing anything if we were not SURE that it could be easily handled by our atmosphere control equipment.)

      I am pretty certain that whatever climate and ocean chemistry changes are in store, effective response will require power, creativity, and hard work. If we can avoid some of the larger changes by slowing down our dumping in the near future, that would make the adaptation effort easier (which in my vernacular means “less costly.”)

      Since a large number of people who share my concerns about the long term effects of our current course and speed seem to have a blind spot when it comes to nuclear energy, I think it is worth exposing them to a certain level of cognitive dissonance by continuing to explain why nuclear energy is the best available tool for providing power to the people without producing hazardous quantities of emissions.

      1. Rod,
        Thank you for taking the time and trouble to respond to my query.

        Let me be honest here, I lack formal scientific qualifications so cannot really argue the AGW case from the standpoint of known expertise. My conclusions really are the product of a lifetime of reading and evaluating what is being said, noting who is saying it and what their recommendations are. Ends supplemented with a probing as to why. Essentially what are the motives.

        This centring on the human dimensions might not be free of its fallacies, but it does allow me to discount the endless gloomy prognostications that now routinely blight daily life. In fact what I see around me today reminds of what Kenneth Clark had to say about civilisation when he pointed out that for it to develop and flourish there is a need for confidence. A quality now lacking in the westernised democracies.

        This lack exhibits itself in many ways, not least the denying of the one source of energy that will allow us to live well without compromising the world in which we live. To advocate, as some do, the circumscribing of nuclear energy seem tantamount to lunacy. I wonder if those who so ernestly proclaim this realise that an advanced society, the one they enjoy, cannot survive down this road. What is more it could be the world will not survive if we do not embrace what the atom supplies.

        The only reservation I have lies in how this energy is produced, by what method. For me the path lies in solutions like the LFTR, the Pebble Bed Reactor or perhaps SMR. I cannot help but note that all mankind has need for what it gives without ever allowing some nutty fringe the chance to somehow exploit atomic processes for insane ends. This implies in my estimation that PWR’s are only appropriate for stable societies, and as such are not the best pathway for the future.

        Regards and thanks, Barry

        1. @Barry – do you know much about light water reactors? Have you ever visited a facility or reviewed summary reports of their performance? Just a tour or two would convince you that there is no exploitable vulnerability that would allow anyone to do much damage or use any of the materials for “insane ends.” They are not perfect, but they are pretty darned resilient examples of industrial machinery.

          There are definitely other ways to capture and use fission heat than the tried and true, but light water reactors and their associated steam plants work much more reliably than some seem to imagine. They could cost far less than they do and take a lot less time to build if only reasonable rules were imposed.

          I suspect that without a lot of team work on the part of all who understand that fission is a superior heat source when compared to combustion that all other forms of fission will be hamstrung by the same kind of layering of excessively obstructing regulations.

  13. Not sure if my corrective to my earlier update has transmitted properly. At the risk of repetition please ignore the last three paragraphs, this note was accidentally sent unedited. My fault. Sorry.

  14. The AGW Believers claim that warming is going to make the oceans hold more CO2 and kill all of the coral. Then please explain these two phenomenon:
    1.) Open two bottles of soda, put one in the living area (around 68 degrees F/ 20 C) and the other in the refrigerator (around 40 Degrees F, 5 C) . Let sit overnight. Put a child’s balloon on each. Shake well. Which has the most CO2 left?
    2.) (This experiment works best from a sink just above or very close to the hot water heater.) Run cold water from one of your faucets. Let it partially fill a clear glass container. Observe the crystal clear clarity. (Assuming you have a decent water supply.) Now run water from the hot water spigot. When it is as hot as it will get, let it partially fill a clear glass container (preferably Pyrex.) Note the definite milky appearance, which quickly dissipates. Why is the water milky?

    Extra special credit: Most scientific minded people also know that the warmest water rises to the top and that it is extremely difficult to heat up a tank of water from the top down. Your hot water heater works on this principle. Solar hot water heaters can provide water hotter than the exit water in the roof-top solar collector because of this principle. For those that don’t know/understand, take a small Styrofoam cooler (or a cup) and put a thermometer in the bottom (you can easily stick it right through the side.) Now take a propane torch and direct it at the water on the top, being careful not to melt the sides. two layers of aluminum foil loosely wrapped around the inside will prevent the melting. In a very short period of time the water will start disappearing. It is actually boiling on the top where the flames are heating up the water. If you use a small enough container you can watch the level decrease. I have done this with a Styrofoam coffee cup. With a decent sized cooler you can actually put your hand in the bottom, where it will be COLD, while the water on top is boiling.
    Questions for the experiment: How long will it take to heat up the ocean(s) enough to absorb enough of the CO2 to change the pH enough to kill the coral. Keep in mind acidic water will be thoroughly mixed, it does not stay at the top (but you can assume it remains at the top 50%, if it helps your belief.) Don’t forget that salt water is actually a “buffer” and to account for the associated buffering action. It is my opinion that even if it could happen, that it would take long enough for the various coral species to adapt to the change, and there would be no die-off. (you can find lots of papers on the internet explaining that you do not need to worry about this alarmist hysteria on the internet. Look for them, I don/’t want to be told that site is “biased.”

    As I said before, where is the proof. All they hand out is predictions form models. I can make a model predict anything you want. Lately it looks as if their models are not correlating properly, and they are putting more spin on the answers. I still do my part in protecting the earth. More than 2/3rds of the waste I sit out on the curb goes in the recycle bin. Less than 1/3 is garbage. I would do better but our city will not take glass or black plastic regardless of the number on it, and I am not going to drive 25 miles to place in a bin that will take it. That would be counterproductive.

    1. Rich, you and the article you cite have strayed far from actual science and into the realm of what I consider politics driven by the fossil-fuel lobby.

      The findings on ocean acidification are not “models”–they are actual studies of existing conditions. And it is entirely reasonable from a scientific point of view to assume that the more CO2 is emitted due to human activity, the greater the ocean’s CO2 burden and the greater the rate of acidification–the ocean being the world’s biggest carbon sink. Here’s what a highly-credentialed, internationally-respected chemical oceanographer has to say:

      “I have read the article and all of the comments. I don’t know how to respond because there are so many distractions from the real problem and it is totally obvious to me that these comments reveal an ignorance of chemistry and the oceans.
      First, there is no way of explaining to anyone posting such ridiculous claims how the process works if they don”t even understand simple acid base reactions. An acid (CO2) always reacts with a base (CaCO3) to make a salt (CaHCO3), which in many cases is very soluble. The only argument is the rate of the reaction. Second, in the deep ocean there is a depth below which all CaCO3 dissolves so the deep ocean is not full of precipitated CaCO3 or CaCO3 shells – the reason for the red clays that cover the floors of most of the deep oceans. That depth is called the calcium carbonate compensation depth and is about 3500 meters. Third, the deep ocean is not a still pot of water but rather the opposite: the surface water above the thermocline is completely stirred continuously and the deep water below the thermocline is mixed over a period of approximately 1000 years through upwelling off Antarctica and where strong winds continuously blow on or off shore. The waters above the thermocline are where most of the life is and where the pH will change first and most rapidly. Fourth, every genuine scientist knows and understands Henry’s Law, which is an equation that at equilibrium relates the amount of a gas that will dissolve in water, at a temperature and for a partial pressure of the gas over it. The colder the water the more gas that it will hold. The beer example relates more to the nucleation of a super-saturated solution than to solubility –so again that argument is a red herring . The faucet red herring is also about Henry’s Law, the increased viscosity of the cold water, and the aeration that the attachment on the end of the faucet produces.
      “My only suggestion is to have anyone that is really interested read the text book ‘Chemical Oceanography’ and ‘The Marine Carbon Cycle’ by Emerson and Hedges. After these people have read these I would be more than happy to talk with them.”

  15. Rod,
    I acknowledge your corrective, thank you. If my concerns do not reflect the reality so be it.

    Let me be candid my knowledge of light water reactors is limited to that of the ordinary interested citizen who exposes himself to a great many subjects. As for the closest I have ever managed to get to an actual plant, well this was as a spectator to the building of the UK’s Sizewell A plant (on the east coast of Suffolk)during the mid -late 1960’s. Never had the chance of getting inside I am afraid, although would like to.

    If I lived in the US perhaps you could have finessed a visit. Cannot be alas, regards Barry

      1. Joel, thanks for correcting me. I should have realised this, but once the general public, including me, were excluded from the UK’s Nuclear Forum, my knowledge entered slow decline. The Forum was a body that used to disseminate various educational materials and briefing papers, good stuff, although the internet now offers more.

        Interestingly I have good memories of the construction of this plant, having spend part of my boyhood in Leiston, a small town about two miles inland from Sizewell, famous (once) for its steam tractors, the town being centred around the engineering firm of Garretts. Anyway taking long walks were a thing then so I often made use of my passing through Sizewell to climb the stand (erected on the seaward side by the contractors) that allowed a view of the works. Not that I really understood what I was gazing at, I was young then and not very knowledgeable. Plenty of interest though. I suppose you could say nothing much has changed, but maybe that being harsh.

        Regards Barry.

        1. Getting to tour a Magnox would probably be a pretty impressive experience. I need to get over to the UK (and Europe, in general) sometime in the not-too-distant future.

    1. “Never had the chance of getting inside I am afraid, although would like to”

      Barry – You seem to be a thoughtful gentleman with an open mind; I think a visit to an atomic energy facility would be very enlightening.

      There is a facility on the east coast of the USA that I am familiar with that conducts tours of limited areas of the plant almost daily. The three-hour tour (including lunch!) generally starts out with a slideshow presentation and Q&A session from a veteran employee of over thirty years (his specialty was Radiation Protection and Training), then takes the visitors to certain areas of the plant including the massive turbine deck, cooling water intake structure, and spent fuel pool. It finishes in the control room simulator, where the plant response to a reactor trip or accident scenario is demonstrated.

      One needs to sign up several weeks in advance so that a security background check may be completed.

      I think perhaps if you investigate, plants in your area may offer something similar. If not, let us know if your travels are going take you across the pond, maybe someone here can set you up.

      1. Atomikrabbit, sadly I am three thousand plus miles away from any US plant. Cannot see UK Nuclear allowing me inside. Pity, would like the chance. Thanks, Barry

      2. I recently spent a week at a nuclear power plant with three BWRs. Nevertheless I would be interested in taking the tour you mentioned. Could you send me specifics on how to sign up. My email is info@gallopingcamel.info

  16. Rod Adams said:

    “Please help me to understand why I should believe you over someone like Dr. Barry Brook, Dr. James Hansen, Dr. James Lovelock, or Dr. Anderson.”

    If you uncritically believe what the people you listed above say you will overlook their glaring errors. For example, while I hold Barry Brook in high esteem, he is capable of making really dumb statements such as the time he suggested that climate science was as certain as the effects of gravity.
    http://bravenewclimate.com/2011/06/24/clearing-up-the-climate-debate/

  17. re:”Rod Adams
    February 11, 2012 | 2:57 PM

    Do you really want me to believe that an academic gravy train is responsible for a better misinformation campaign than one that can be waged by corporations that earn as much as $12 billion per QUARTER in profits?

    Give me a break.”

    What a disappointment. Perhaps, your thoughts expressed above are from ignorance not ideology.

    There are a number of sites on the internet that have exposed the continuing fraud of anthroprogenic global warming, anthroprogenic global climate change and anthroprogenic global “fill in the buzz word.” Let me give three to scan and follow:
    1) Watts Up With That? http://wattsupwiththat.com/
    2) Real Science http://www.real-science.com/
    3) The Strata Sphere http://strata-sphere.com/blog/

    Please check them out.

    Dan Kurt

    BTW, as posted by Steven Goddard: “British Petroleum destroyed the Gulf of Mexico, and then gave $500 million to fund junk global warming research.” Here BIG OIL is funding the “research”!

    http://rwor.org/a/083-special/bp-berkeley-en.html

    1. There are far more sites that have exposed the focused efforts of the coal, oil and gas industry to obscure facts and science. The amount of money at stake is plenty of motive and provides plenty of means for deceptive tactics.

      1. Rod,

        It is not a numbers game. The ARGUMENT FROM AUTHORITY is a logical fallacy. BTW, as I mentioned above BP is funding their willing executioners ( at Berkeley ). Big business is run more and more by Public Opinion flacks from all appearances and is more concerned with pleasing the regulators or getting Taxpayer money rather than competition. Much of the money that Big Business spreads around works at cross purposes and most of it goes to Liberal, Progeressive, Environmental/Green agents.

        The three sites I gave you are run by individuals who appear as you appear to me: writers who believe in what they write, are technical experts in a given field, are not Journalists or Media Flacks working for hire, and seem to be nearly all self funded, using sweat equity, and believe in their cause. I urge you to give them a try.

        Dan Kurt

        1. @Dan

          You appear to be projecting a worldview that is contrary to the one I have developed. Much of what you read and hear is definitely a “numbers game” where the numbers of importance to many of the players are in units of dollars – very large units of dollars.

          Nearly every well run business I have ever encountered is driven by those kinds of numbers on a daily, weekly, and quarterly basis. Some of the highest paid people in every company are those who are charged with producing increased sales and developing marketing strategies that will drive large shifts in market demand. Other highly paid groups are those that defend companies against higher costs and restrictions on their ability to produce.

          The energy game is arguably the biggest, most important, and best rewarded game in town. As you have come to understand, Atomic Insights is a self funded effort driven by a strongly held belief that I am spreading the truth as I see it. However, I would be dishonest if I attempted to convince anyone that I am not interested in achieving financial success, partly as a result of the considerable effort that I invest in this publication.

          Part of my strategy is to demonstrate that I have a reasonably good understanding of the world and the way that it works and to demonstrate why paying me for advice or counsel might be a worthwhile expenditure. Another part of my strategy is to continue to invest in companies that will prosper if the truth that I am sharing begins to be understood; if people begin to realize that they have been sold a bill of goods by the fossil fuel industry, they will start breaking down the barriers that the established energy interests have erected to purposely slow nuclear energy development.

          Addressing one more of your comments – the big oil companies certainly benefit in many ways from government policies and favorable tax treatments, but on the scale of their income from selling massive quantities of a useful product, those income streams are fairly small. They certainly spread some of their largess to “greens” who claim to be working against the production of more energy, but that is not illogical (or “cross purposes” to use your words) if you understand that limiting production always drives the balance between supply and demand to be in favor higher prices. That benefits suppliers, not customers.

      2. There are far more sites that have exposed the focused efforts of the coal, oil and gas industry to obscure facts and science.

        Yes, and some sites are so good at it because they apparently take the effort to manufacture their “smoking guns” themselves.

        The amount of money at stake is plenty of motive and provides plenty of means for deceptive tactics.

        I absolutely agree, and this give plenty of motive for Desmogblog (or someone who works for Desmogblog) to use such deceptive tactics as publishing a fake memo.

        The motive is clear, but the means still leave much to be desired. I guess these people are so used to getting favorable coverage in the press and much of the Internet community that they have gotten sloppy or stupid or both. Didn’t they learn anything from the well-publicized fall of Dan Rather?

        Do you really still believe these jokers, Rod?! This is almost reaching the level of an IQ test.

        1. @Brian:

          You really do focus on trivial matters sometimes. Who cares about “fake memos” in the face of tens to hundreds of millions of dollars worth of deceptive advertising that seeks to convince Americans that there is plenty of oil, oodles of natural gas, and ways to make coal seem like a clean burning rock that is ready to simply accept a power cord?

          You keep coming back to convince me that the world’s hydrocarbon industry is not doing everything in their power to maintain the fiction that the world is so dependent on their product that we must continue to avoid using scary nuclear energy that has no emissions at all. Part of that message is to convince people that the billions of tons per year worth of fossil fuel waste is of such low concern that society would be silly to do anything to restrict it or to actually charge emitters for the use of our common atmosphere as a dumping ground.

          I do not spend any time on sites like Desmogblog, but I do read and appreciate Brave New Climate, works by James Hansen, and publications by people like Rip Anderson. I am convinced that massive atmospheric dumping of fossil fuel waste cannot safely continue at the present rate and certainly should not be allowed to increase – especially since there is such a capable alternative. I am also convinced that there should be a dumping fee assessed on the use of the atmosphere for a waste repository and that the income from that fee should be directly returned to everyone with a set of lungs who owns an equal share of that atmosphere.

        2. You really do focus on trivial matters sometimes.

          I do? You were the one who brought up that “there are far more sites” exposing “the focused efforts of the coal, oil and gas industry to obscure facts and science.” I just provided one concrete example of the “deceptive tactics” used by one of the more prominent sites on the opposite side of the debate.

          Your comment implied that you were going for a head count, so is information about which blogs you occasionally read all that relevant? (Now, that is what I call “trivia.”) Your comment led me to believe that all blogs are game in this discussion.

          You keep coming back to convince me that the world’s hydrocarbon industry is not doing everything in their power to maintain the fiction that the world is so dependent on their product that we must continue to avoid using scary nuclear energy that has no emissions at all.

          I did? When did I do that? How does my comment relate to nuclear energy at all?

          If that is what you intended to be the main thrust of your post, perhaps you should have included a video of where Lord Monckton tells people “to avoid using scary nuclear energy.” I thought that this blog post and this comment thread were about climate change.

          I am also convinced that there should be a dumping fee assessed on the use of the atmosphere for a waste repository and that the income from that fee should be directly returned to everyone with a set of lungs who owns an equal share of that atmosphere.

          Is carbon-dioxide a hazard to the lungs? I realize that it is dangerous (and uncomfortable) if too much gets into the bloodstream, but I didn’t realize that it harmed the lungs. The concentrations at which CO2 becomes dangerous to human health are far below the world-wide average atmospheric concentration. If we’re worried about the impact of carbon-dioxide concentrations on human health, then perhaps we should assess a fee on everyone who owns an enclosed room to be paid out to everyone with a set of lungs in that room. I’m sure that, as an ex-Naval officer who has served on submarines, you know how high CO2 concentrations can become in an enclosed space.

          But I suppose that such information is “trivial” stuff.

          If you want to talk about the other stuff in emissions from fossil-fueled plants, then that’s a completely different discussion. It is my opinion, however, that distributing any “dumping fee” evenly to “everyone” is very unfair, since the health effects are clearly borne most severely by those who live closest to the power plants. In addition, I could not support such a fee for commercial electricity-generating plants, unless it were also implemented for motorists for all of the crap that comes out of the tailpipes of their automobiles.

          1. I did? When did I do that? How does my comment relate to nuclear energy at all?

            Brian – all hydrocarbon marketing, especially that which seeks to paper over the ill effects of dumping massive quantities of CO2, is related to the use of nuclear energy – at least through the biased set of lenses I use to describe the world here on Atomic Insights.

            Sometimes, I do not make myself very clear, but, what the heck, part of my reason for blogging is to practice arguments and see how people respond.

            When I said – “far more sites” what I really meant was “far more sources”. There is a well publicized a “dispute” or a “debate” about whether or not the 8-9 billion tons of CO2 emitted each year is having a negative effect on the ability of our shared atmosphere and oceans to continue to support our existing base of structures, a reasonable approximation of our current base of ecosystems, and our reasonably predictable weather patterns.

            However, the debate in the scientific literature is not even close to evenly split. I recognize that science is uncertain and that there is always more to learn, but the number and the credibility of the people on the side of those who express long term concerns (not alarmism) has helped to convince me that there is something worth worrying about.

            I am not trying to demonize CO2 or to claim that there is no safe dose. It is a natural part of our living and breathing cycles. The safe dose is actually quite large. However, I am know that any system can become unbalanced when there is a component that is steadily rising because the “addition” terms exceed the “removal” terms in the differential equation. That is especially true when the addition terms are getting bigger every year.

            My argument here is the same that I make when it comes to radiation, the dose makes the poison. It is the dose of CO2 from our massive hydrocarbon extraction industry that is the problem. It also the way that overdose of CO2 is accumulating in systems that have buffers and protective mechanisms but that can eventually be overwhelmed.

            Nuclear energy has the capacity to drive our industrialized society’s CO2 emissions down and allow the ocean and atmospheric systems to gradually get back into balance. The transition from combustion to fission will result in a growing abundance of good things for nearly everyone on earth, but it will also be incredibly damaging to the wealth and power of the fossil fuel industry. Anyone who profits from the established energy industry has a motive to resist that transition with every tool they can find.

            In my unbalanced view of the world, people who express the notion that CO2 emissions do not matter are like those who advocate an energy utopia powered by the wind and the sun – they are all fossil fuel industry tools (perhaps unwitting) in its existential battle against nuclear energy.

            Aside: Hydrocarbons have inherent value and will always be useful, but the current structure of the industry rests on really bad assumptions about the future so it will have to change in economically painful ways. End Aside,

            Note: The 8-9 billion tons used above is a correction from the figure I normally use of 20 billion tons because I have been doing some reading this weekend of papers on the topic. The figure I used to use came from a back of the napkin computation that I made based on the known quantities of hydrocarbons burned each year, but I was off by a factor of about two compared to the accepted value.

  18. Rod Adams said:
    “I am also convinced that there should be a dumping fee assessed on the use of the atmosphere for a waste repository and that the income from that fee should be directly returned to everyone with a set of lungs who owns an equal share of that atmosphere.”

    I read the above statement as meaning that you accept the EPA’s finding that CO2 is a pollutant and carbon taxes are a good thing.

    I don’t want to put words into your mouth so please correct me if I have it wrong.

    1. @gallopingcamel – not carbon taxes – at least not with the intent of allowing cronies to direct the proceeds.

      I am advocating waste disposal fees with the proceeds given directly to the people who own the atmosphere. One of our founding principles in the US is that everyone is endowed by their creator with the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That right to life bequeaths everyone with a set of lungs an equal share of the atmosphere because without an atmosphere, a human can only live for a brief 2-5 minutes.

      CO2 is an inevitable combustion waste product. Like feces, it can be a fertilizer if properly applied in the right quantities and with the proper pretreatment. Like feces, it can also be an annoying waste product with bad effects on the rest of the system in which it is placed if it is not properly treated or if it is dumped with abandon in massive quantities.

      1. Rod,
        Thanks for the clarification. You had me worried for a moment.

        I don’t have a problem with industrial plants being required to mitigate the effects of their toxic outputs such as NOx, SO2, soot, higher Actinides etc.

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